HOW do you imagine Theresa May’s efforts would be viewed by her board or investors if she were running a company rather than being at the helm of this shambolic UK Government?

This week, we have had Mrs May and her Cabinet setting more deadlines for leaving the European Union, with a determination this time round to seal Brexit before Parliament’s summer recess. Mrs May plans to bring back her withdrawal agreement with the EU – the deal that it seems just will not die – for a fourth vote in Parliament in the week commencing June 3 after three heavy defeats already. Talk that there will not be a fifth vote is cold comfort, amid the shambles.

Of course, as talks between the Conservatives and Labour on a compromise rumble on with thankfully little common ground, in a manner which keeps alive hopes of Brexit being abandoned, there is no sign of how Mrs May hopes to achieve her latest goal of sealing EU departure by summer. This is entirely in keeping with the chaotic Brexit drive by this UK Government ever since summer 2016.

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Things are not easy for Mrs May with elements of the ever-more-bitterly divided Tories utterly internally focused on their own unsavoury ideology on Europe at the expense of the electorate. That said, it is likely Mrs May would not, with the track record she has accumulated as Prime Minister, have survived this long as a chief executive.

In a corporate environment, analysis of the market and changes in it, and benchmarking by a company of what it is offering against what competitors are selling are crucial.

Back in the political sphere, Mrs May’s analysis of the results of this month’s English council elections, in which the Conservatives suffered very heavy losses, has been woeful.

She has attempted to construe the results in a way which supports what has been a pitiless drive towards Brexit – a campaign that continues to ignore realities or consequences.

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Giving her own particular view of what the council election results meant, Mrs May said: “I think people are saying to us, ‘We’re sending a strong message – just get on and sort Brexit out and do it’.”

This suggests a Prime Minister still interested only in pandering to the Leave voters, with no time for those pointing out why the UK should remain in the EU. From a Scottish perspective, given the big majority north of the Border to stay in the EU, such a focus is particularly irritating.

She is focused on the wishes of the 51.9 per cent of voters who preferred to leave the EU in the referendum, nearly three years ago now.

On March 8, ahead of the second of the so-far three defeats of her withdrawal agreement in Parliament, the Prime Minister tweeted: “By coming together and backing the deal next week, we can deliver the change you voted for.”

Mrs May’s continuing refusal to countenance second thoughts on Brexit is truly remarkable. After all, a company analysing changing consumer preferences would have clocked that a raft of recent polls have signalled a majority now wish to remain in the EU. But Mrs May is interested only, it seems, in the opinion of the electorate at one point in time nearly three years ago.

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In terms of what the competition is offering, she should take another good look at the English council election results and recent polling in Scotland.

It is difficult not to blame the Liberal Democrats for the UK getting into the whole Brexit mess. Had they not propped up former prime minister David Cameron’s government in 2010, the world could be a very different place. We may well not have had a Brexit referendum, the result of which has choked off growth and taken a heavy toll on society as well as the economy in terms of a grim rising tide of xenophobia. We might also have avoided the savage and ill-judged Tory austerity which has so damaged growth for nearly a decade now.

That said, at least the Liberal Democrats are atoning, with their vehement opposition to Brexit. Mrs May should observe that, with this stance, the Liberal Democrats made major gains in the English council elections. The extent of these gains has been given less media oxygen than the tub-thumping of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. But these advances are more interesting than the novelty Brexit Party fad, which was always going to attract hard-line Leave voters. We must remember that the Brexit Party’s rise does not reflect an increased appetite among the electorate as a whole to leave the EU, merely entrenched ideology.

And election expert Professor Sir John Curtice, of the University of Strathclyde, this week observed the SNP looked to be on course for an “all-time record performance” in the European elections on May 23, with “some 40% or so of the vote”.

The SNP has at Holyrood and Westminster been making very sensible points about the folly of Brexit. It is not surprising that this is resonating with the people of Scotland, on both sides of the independence debate, given the electorate north of the Border showed itself to be more outward-looking than that in the UK as a whole with its firm vote to stay in the EU. Some other key parts of the UK, including London, also recognised the importance of EU membership.

Scotland, as well as being ignored on Brexit by Mrs May and her Government, also looks likely to be hit even harder economically than other parts of the UK by the Prime Minister’s hard Brexit plan of leaving the single market. Scotland is particularly dependent on strong net immigration from EU countries for its current and future workforce, given its particular demographic challenges. That said, we should not underestimate the importance of people from other EU countries to the economy and society UK-wide.

The SNP’s popularity in the polls seems to reflect in large measure the party’s decisiveness on Brexit, with its clear backing for a second referendum, in spite of differing opinions among its supporters. Labour, which it is important to note suffered only modest losses in the English local elections, has seemed overly wary of upsetting Brexiters, particularly given it will in many cases be these people’s living standards that will be hit hardest by leaving the EU.

Mrs May would do well to take a step back, realise the electorate’s appetite for Brexit has diminished as the economic and social damage has materialised, and reflect on a complete change of strategy.